NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Aaron Hernandez sits in the courtroom of the Attleboro District Court during his hearing on August 22, 2013 in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge for the death of Odin Lloyd.
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The fiancee of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez took the stand in his murder trial Friday shortly after the judge overseeing the case dismissed a juror for personal reasons.
Shayanna Jenkins was granted immunity by the court in February, which means she could be compelled to testify or face time behind bars. There had been a question about whether prosecutors would call Jenkins, who has been in a relationship with Hernandez since high school and is the mother of his 2-year-old daughter.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, 27, who was dating Jenkins’ younger sister, Shaneah. Lloyd was found shot to death at an industrial park less than a mile from the home that Shayanna and Hernandez share.
Before Jenkins took the stand, Garsh announced that a male juror had been dismissed from the case, but she didn’t elaborate. He is the third juror to be dismissed from the trial. Fifteen jurors remain, and three of those will be alternates chosen randomly after closing arguments.
Shayanna Jenkins has pleaded not guilty to perjury in connection with the case. Prosecutors say she lied to a grand jury investigating the killing.
The sisters introduced Lloyd and Hernandez in 2012 during a game at Gillette Stadium.
Shayanna Jenkins has been coming to court sporadically and sitting behind Hernandez, whispering "I love you," to him and occasionally joking with him. She has not appeared in court since March 6.
When Shaneah was called to testify earlier in the trial, Shayanna scribbled notes and then passed them to Hernandez’s lawyers, occasionally sighing as her sister spoke.
Surveillance video played for the jury showed Shayanna removing from their home a garbage bag with what appeared to be a box inside. Prosecutors said before the trial that they believe the box contained the murder weapon, which has never been found.